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If you thought the idyllic Pacific Islands were all about lazing on beaches and snorkelling coral reefs, think again. We’ve found several ways for adrenaline junkies and adventurers to get their fix. But before you do any of the below, please put your poor travel agent at ease and take the travel insurance!
1. JUMP INTO A JELLYFISH INFESTED LAKE
The beautiful Rock Islands, Palau’s major tourist attraction, hide a little known lake of terror. This small, 30 metre lake is home to six million jellyfish! The lake was once fully submerged by the sea, but cut off about 12,000 years ago. As it happened, two species of jellyfish were caught in the lake that day, and thanks to not being connected to the ocean any longer, they've happily lived there ever since. Snorkellers can swim amongst the millions of jellyfish which do sting, but not badly enough to affect most people.
2. DODGE FLYING CHUNKS OF LAVA
On the island of Tanna in the south of Vanuatu is Mount Yasur, one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes. In a real test of bravery, climb the continuously rumbling volcano as it spits out chunks of molten lava, some of which you may have to dodge! And for an added bit or adrenaline, the fire show is best viewed at night.
3. SWIM WITH SEA SNAKES
The katuali is a type of sea snake native only to the small island of Niue. The snakes spend most of their time hidden in the rocky crevasses just offshore, but still have to come to the surface every few minutes to breathe. At a certain spot, fearless snorkellers can witness this continuous flow of snakes darting up and down, from a safe distance of course.
4. ISLAND STYLE BLACK MAGIC
Venture into highlands of Tanna and visit the ancient village of a warrior tribe who have resisted much of today’s civilised world, and live as their ancestors once did. You’ll learn about their weapons and be taught the art of ambush before hearing about their frightening customs and black magic rituals.
5. SURF THE ALMIGHTY ‘JAWS’
Only discovered in 1975, Jaws is the name given to a big wave surf break on the Hawai’ian island of Maui. In the right conditions, the waves can reach a whopping 60 feet (18 metres), some of the largest in the world. Only experienced big wave surfers should attempt the break, but interested sightseers can get amazing views from helicopters and lookouts on the nearby clifftops.
6. LAND DIVING
This precursor to the bungy jump takes place on Pentecost Island, Vanuatu, from April to June and consists of local villagers jumping from precariously constructed 20-30 metre high towers with just two tree vines wrapped around their ankles! Yes, two plain old jungle vines! It’s thought, the higher a villager jumps from, the more successful the next harvest will be; and ideally the villager will brush his shoulders on the ground as he hits it at 70kmph! Tourists cannot do the jump themselves (many have tried to bribe), but watching it is a thrill in itself.
7. FEED SHARKS AND STINGRAYS
The crystal clear waters of Bora Bora are home to countless tropical fish, including sharks and stingrays. One operator offers a tour where you’ll actually go out in search of these creatures with the aim of feeding them… by hand! They’re not any real threat to humans, but have been known to go for the odd nip.
> VIEW HOT DEALS TO THE PACIFIC HERE
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